Hollowness to Hallelujah

HannahHannah was very bitter. She sobbed and sobbed. She prayed to the Lord.  She made a promise to him. She said, “Lord, you rule over all. Please see how I’m suffering! Show concern for me! Don’t forget about me! Please give me a son! If you do, I’ll give him back to you. Then he will serve you all the days of his life. He’ll never use a razor on his head. He’ll never cut his hair.”

As Hannah kept on praying to the Lord, Eli watched her lips. She was praying in her heart. Her lips were moving. But she wasn’t making a sound.

Eli thought Hannah was drunk. He said to her, “How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine.”

“That’s not true, sir,” Hannah replied. “I’m a woman who is deeply troubled. I haven’t been drinking wine or beer. I was telling the Lord all of my troubles. Don’t think of me as an evil woman. I’ve been praying here because I’m very sad. My pain is so great.”  -1 Samuel 1:10-20  

Wow.  I’ve read these words before, but tonight, they seemed to jump out at me. The words Hannah exclaimed before the Lord are ones that most of us in equal pain have exclaimed.   The pleading, begging, and deep sorrow is one that is so poignantly written about in Scripture.  The feelings that Hannah expressed are ones that have been and still are translatable for many women throughout our history.

Bitterness, sorrow, sadness, suffering, troubled hearts, and painful days are all descriptive of the walk that so many women who find themselves barren are struggling through. They are told not to be bitter, and that their sorrow will turn to joy, but many find themselves without the sweet ending to their bitterness and sorrow.  They know their heart is troubled and that they are suffering, but still, they walk each day in faith with a heaviness unlike any other.

And the pain, oh the pain…They walk each step as if their hearts are being ripped out.  It is a deep and hollowing pain that comes along with barrenness.  It is one equal to the agony of a broken heart.  It is hard to describe, yet, so obviously felt by many.

As I read the words of Hannah tonight, I thought, “I once prayed just like her.  I once felt her bitterness, and her sobering sorrow.  I once suffered.  I once was troubled, and I truly pleaded with the Lord.”  

As a matter of fact, I distinctly remember calling out and surrendering to the Lord in my anguish with the words, “Father, you know my heart’s desire.  I trust Your will, Lord, but I just want a chance at being a mother.  I just want to experience what it feels like to hold a baby in my arms as a mother, if just for a moment.  Father, I want this.  I need this.”

Soon after this prayer, we received our first foster care placement of an infant boy whom we ended up adopting nearly two years later.  It was not long after this tear-filled pleading that I held a baby in my arms and felt the all-encompassing love of being a mother.  It was not long after this surrender that my heart stepped outside of itself, and suddenly, my entire world changed.  Everything changed.

The Lord has stifled my anguish three times over through the adoption of two sons, and one daughter.

If you are a Momma-in-Waiting, a modern-day Hannah, or a soul that is in despair, I know your pain must be great.  It is one that is held within the silent walls of your beating heart.  It is a heaviness that is rarely felt, except by others who are walking the same road.  I want you to know, though, that our Father in Heaven hears you. He sees your pain.  He knows your desires, and He has already prescribed your future.

Our God is the same God who heard the pleadings of Hannah.  He answered her prayer when she became pregnant and delivered Samuel.  The miraculous love of our Father is that He continues to answers the pleadings of His children.

He is not deaf to the misery of your heart.

I do not know what you are going through right now.  I do not know how the Lord will work it all out, but I know that faith during this difficult time is essential.  The footsteps you walk while you are facing the all-encompassing loneliness of infertility are ones that need to be taken in faith.

If you are overwhelmed in grief, lift up your heart and your hands to the Lord. Remind yourself of how the Lord answered Hannah’s prayer, and the prayers of a multitude of fellow sisters throughout history.  Remind yourself that YOU, my dear sister of an empty womb, YOU are precious in the sight of Your Father in Heaven.

May the Lord bless You.  May His glorious light rescue you from the darkness you are feeling surrounded by.  Like Hannah, may the God of all creation, answer your prayer, and create a miracle in your life.  Through the light, love, and promise of God, may the hardship of hollowness be turned to one that exclaims, “Hallelujah!”

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